I don't know about you, but I certainly wasn't taught my faith this way. And if this continues, we risk losing our youth, raising a generation who cannot taste the sweetness of faith because it fails to stir their soul. As I watched my son and my friend’s daughter build a snowman together, I considered how working together is the only way to move forward for imams and religious scholars and mental health professionals. It is only through this bridging and collaboration, where imams and religious scholars work in tandem with mental health professionals, that we can ensure the mental health and spiritual well-being of a believer in crisis. All the educators involved in our children’s Islamic upbringing, from Islamic school teachers to the weekend Qur’an teacher at the masjid and Muslim children’s media, need to be a part of this conversation as well. The thoughtful imparting of our deen to our children, which fosters their spiritual and emotional growth, will allow their faith to flourish long after we’re gone.
Our hands will get slippery. We will face trials in life that will bring us to our knees. In those moments, we may feel distant from our Lord, and this alienation from the Divine will make our hearts shatter. As Muslims we need to take hold of all the tools in our arsenal to draw close to our Rabb. Through thoughtful spiritual and psychological counseling, we as believers can find an integration of our spiritual and emotional selves so we can firmly grasp the rope of Allah once again.
To learn more about the connection between religiosity and mental health, read our study Faith in Mind: Islam’s Role in Mental Health
Powell, K., & Clark, C. (2011). Sticky faith: Everyday ideas to build lasting faith in your kids.
Ibn Mas’ud RA also asked for “sticky faith” when he beautifully supplicated for “faith that never wavers”
اللهم إني أسألُك إيمانًا لا يرتدُّ ونعيمًا لا ينفَدُ ومرافقةَ محمدٍ في أعلى جنةِ الخُلدِ
“O Allah I ask you for unwavering iman (faith) and endless bliss and the company of Muhammad SAW in the highest eternal paradise.”
Sayyid Nazir Niyazi, Iqbal kay Huzur, trans. Ahmed Afzaal (Lahore: Iqbal Academy, 1971), 60–61.